About the investigation

Sunday, October 18, 2009

For these reports, The Washington Post analyzed the spending, services and finances of every specialized AIDS organization that was funded by the District's HIV/AIDS Administration from 2004 to 2008 -- an estimated 90 groups that were awarded a total of more than $80 million. Not all of the money was drawn down and spent.

Along with the city's medical clinics, the groups make up the front lines of the District's fight against the disease.

Records from the HIV/AIDS Administration are inconsistent, incomplete and, at times, missing altogether. To evaluate the performance of AIDS groups in the city, The Post built a database using thousands of pages of tax returns, audits and lawsuits; real estate, D.C. Council and court records; and corporate and police reports.

The Post also obtained grant agreements, invoices and government correspondence, when available, for about 60 of the groups. Included in the documents were site inspection reports, which repeatedly chronicled questionable spending, deficient services, missing records and other problems. The Post also culled information from a database of city expenditures and purchase orders obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Over 10 months, the newspaper interviewed dozens of people with HIV or AIDS, their families and service providers and visited more than a dozen organizations across the city.

The HIV/AIDS Administration also funds medical clinics, hospitals, universities and AIDS programs in Northern Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. Those groups were excluded from this study.

Coming Monday: An in-depth look at an AIDS group that got $400,000 for a jobs center that never opened.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company